Friday, May 20, 2011

Summer School: Climate change in cities and city regions – Time to adapt?

I know what I'll be doing next summer - attending the interesting Summer School '''Climate change in cities and city regions - Time to adapt?''', which will take place at HafenCity University Hamburg (HCU) as part of the BaltCICA project.

Climate change has become the overriding environmental issue of our time. All over the
world, coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to effects of climate change. The summer school will address the impact of climate change with the focus on the resulting responsibilities for the urban and rural areas at Elbe estuary. It consists of two modules, the first being a Metropolitan Adaptation Lab and the second a Scenario Workshop.

The summer school is an exciting opportunity for practitioners, students and young researchers of most diverse specializations and branches, ranging from urban and regional planning, environmental sciences, geography, social sciences, ecological sciences, technical engineers with interest in climate change and climate adaptation.

During the week the participants will attend seminars and experience the impacts of climate change in Hamburg and how the latest scientific knowledge is transferred into innovative adaptation measures. In line with that, the attendees will study many aspects of climate change and the role of planning in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Finally they will develop innovative solutions to adapt to a changing climate.

The Summer School will take place organized at the HafenCity University Hamburg from September 26th to 30th 2011 in Hamburg. How will you spend your summer?

See the agenda for the Summer School here and register here by May 31st!
Pictures: Stefanie Lange

Kirsi-Marja Lonkila

Monday, May 16, 2011

Service for the Sea – business idea contest.

A sunny Thursday afternoon, around 20 students came to hear boosting speeches at the global launch event of Service for the Sea –idea contest in Turku, Finland. Before Esko Pettay (Biota Tech & Atmosmare) and Mikko Jokinen (Director of Environmental Affairs at the City of Turku, Chairman of the UBC Commission of Environment) gave their presentations on new solutions on among other things bioenergy and environmental actions of the City of Turku, we enjoyed a broadcasted part from Helsinki, where famous Finnish faces expressed their concern towards our sea and motivated fresh young minds to brainstorm freely towards new sustainable solutions for saving the most polluted sea on earth.

The project has been realized in co-operation between Service for the Sea Ltd and the world’s largest international student association AIESEC in Finland. Raising awareness also elsewhere will happen through a Business Idea –contest, awarding best ideas at the end of the year. Through the AIESEC Work Abroad programme, international trainees have been working on the global Launch and one aim is to bring the contest to their home countries as well and spread the idea around the world. The main goal of the contest is to encourage students and young people to think fresh and believe in even crazy ideas. The Service for the Sea crew will continue developing and supporting entrepreneurial individuals during the year, for example through workshops.

The following day Friday 13th, a workshop was organized for bringing ideas to paper. Few students found courage or willingness to spend Friday afternoon pondering over the problematic of our sea, but the few were diverse. The possible future contest entrants came from Check Republic, Finland, France, China and Poland – we share a common issue. After presentations given by Pasi Aaltonen (Clewer Company) and Janne-Valtteri Nisula (Co-founder Service for the Sea Ltd) free discussion rose and the point standing out was: It is possible – just believe in it!

Awareness raising makes an important part of most project agendas the UBC is responsible of disseminating. Awareness is still not at the level one would hope. We “believe” in environmental thinking and sustainable actions, there are great amounts of projects and initiatives working on that. BUT most of the people don’t know WHAT and WHY certain issues are difficult. Exceeding nitrogen and phosphorus shares in the Sea don’t tell the random Finnish or Polish fellow citizen much; he will probably not start a feisty battle against something he doesn’t understand. I’m confident that his concern is huge, especially if he lives on the coast line of the Baltic Sea. But he thinks he can’t do anything, because he doesn’t know what causes it. And everybody has lost hope already, why should he stress about it?

Every innovation starts from an idea flash in someone’s mind. The playground has been built, support will be provided, now it’s time to get creative and act.
• For the one holding the idea – Let it Lose!
• For the one holding the Resources – Give the fresh Idea a chance!
• It’s time to tackle the untouched Wild West of business – Environmental Business.

Mathias Bergman encourages all actors on different fields to take responsibility and work together for the Baltic Sea. He stresses new innovative thinking.

Anna Stenberg

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

BSR network

Baltic Sea Region (BSR) is rich and diverse. For years the BSR has been analyzed to identify the success factors of the sustainable development in it. In this blog we will be raising some of the success and unsuccessful factors in the BSR in order to add more value to the region.

Network has been a key word used by many over the past years. BSR has been especially successful in creating a variety of networks. From this perspective, we could be even more dynamic and advanced then we are today. The reason for not yet reaching the most out of our existing structures is that the majority of the networks are mostly just mailing lists with very little discussion and listening between each other.

There is a saying that teams are as strong as the weakest link in them. This is also true when talking about networks. Without the true team play, the network will eventually diminish to be only a club with few members.

We want the sustainability issues to progress faster and therefore ask for active participation on all levels so that the all of our actions will bare results in our organizations. This is also the reason behind this blog!

Stella Aaltonen